Less than 200 kilometers separate Transnistria from the European Union’s eastern frontier, on the Romanian border. Yet the tiny sliver of disputed territory might as well be on another planet.
“Do you want to complain about us? To whom? Are you stupid, or are you just acting like it?” the Transnistrian border guard laughs as he and his colleagues watch over a state that does not legally exist.
Transnistria, a narrow stretch of land on the eastern banks of the Dniester River, split from the Republic of Moldova in 1992 after a short military conflict — in which separatists were aided by Russia.
Yet, not even Russia, which still has soldiers stationed in the region and regularly conducts military maneuvers there, recognizes Transnistria as a sovereign state.
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WNU Editor: A few years back I passed through Transnistria. And yes, it is one bizarre country that survives on Russian aid, corruption, and smuggling.